Jared Fajman and Kaila Griffis are both described as the heart of their South Tahoe High School teams. They’d do anything possible to help teammates, even if it doesn’t show up in the stats book –– and as a result both seniors have been named athletes of the year.
Fajman, a two-sport athlete in football and basketball, “was everything. He was probably the soul of our team,” said head football coach Kevin Hennessee. “He was quite a player.”
Fajman spent four years on the football team and captained the team in his senior year. He was a three-year starter at receiver and occasionally quarterback.
“He’s always been a committed and dedicated athlete,” said head basketball coach Joby Cefalu who added he has been coaching Fajman since he was a boy. “There are few who have the commitment and drive that Fajman has.”
Fajman was one of two juniors to be on the varsity basketball team for the 2012-13 season and found minutes in the games. In his senior year, Fajman played about 28 minutes a game, primarily at point guard.
Cefalu recalls the last game of the season at Fallon where Fajman had 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
“He did everything possible to lead the team,” Cafalu said. “He was kind of the heartbeat of our team, along with (Dakoda) Baca, his partner in crime.”
Griffis was a three-sport athlete, playing volleyball, basketball and softball.
She was a three year starter on the volleyball team at the outside hitter position.
“That’s a position usually played by girls 5-feet-8-inches to 5-feet-10-inches and Kaila is all of 5-feet-4-inches,” said head coach Danny McLaughlin, who added when she was asked to do a job she did it masterfully. “It wasn’t about glory, it wasn’t about stats. It was about ‘what can I do to help the team win,’” he said.
Her passing skills allowed the team to be improve offensively, according to McLaughlin, and helped the team to a state championship in 2012.
“Kaila is a very deserving athlete because she understands the little things that allows her team to do well,” McLaughlin said.
On the basketball court, coach Mike Neiger says he could count on Griffis to give 100 percent and he could trust her to guard the opponent’s best player.
In the spring, Griffis played catcher and shortstop for the Lady Vikings softball team and had a season batting average of .359.
“She’s a very strong athlete. She’s got a very big, kind heart,” said Vikings softball coach Shawna Mayo. “I could always count on her to get the job done.”
Next year, Griffis plans to continue her softball career at Butte College in Chico.